WORDS: Kylie Archer @kidgredients
When it comes to packing the over 2000 school lunches you’ll make for your child during their school journey, there are some ways you can make it simpler, yummier and more fun!
Otherwise known as the most important tool in lunch making, the lunchbox really determines what you can pack, how fresh it will stay and whether lunch gets eaten.
I have to send crunch and sip (fruit and veggies only), recess and lunch every day, so we use three containers per child. Having tried many lunchboxes, I have a few favourites.
- Yumbox Panino: Super versatile and perfect for kids who want to keep their crackers separate from their yoghurt. It’s leakproof for wet food – think the consistency of apple sauce – and works for kids up to around 12 years of age. I use the Yumbox MiniSnack for recess. yumbox.com.au
- B-Box: Great for kids who like whole pieces of fruit, we use their smaller containers for crunch and sip. bbox.com.au
- Boxi: Great for older kids (or kids who have all their food for the day in one box) and super hot climates as it contains an ice brick that goes under the food. boxi.com.au
- PlanetBox Rover: Great for avoiding plastics but still having a bento style lunch, match it with a cooler bag and you’ve got plastic free lunches. biome.com.au/808-planetbox
KEEPING YOUR COOL
No matter what lunchbox you get, the lunch the kids eat is only as good as your ice bricks!
We love the Arctic Zone Cooler Bags (from Mini Hippo) or Montii Co Cooler Bags. Ideally we need to keep food between 1–4 degrees and the best way to do this is to store it in the fridge until it goes into the cooler bag.
Teach kids how to open and close their lunch bags and make sure they close them securely between meals.
SOME LIKE IT HOT
If the kids love a hot lunch, then a thermos is a good investment – just make sure to prep it with boiling water for 5 minutes, then empty and add the food when it’s too hot to heat. This means it will be the perfect temperature by lunch time.
Don’t forget to pack a fork or spoon!
Things like carrots, cucumbers, capsicums, celery, can all be prepped in advance and kept in the fridge in water. This helps with variety too, as you don’t have to finish every veggie on the same day in the lunchbox.
Cut fruit is more likely to be eaten in our household, so I chop apples, watermelon, oranges, pears, strawberries, the lot! We use qukes as the kids like them better than whole cucumbers.
Soak apple slices in cold water before popping into the lunchbox. Pop a paper towel under wet fruits like watermelon so they don’t leak. If your kids like yoghurt in their lunchboxes, consider reusable yoghurt pouches to save dollars!
USE YOUR FREEZER
By utilising your freezer and making lunchbox snacks in batches, you will have more variety on hand and won’t ever be panicked to fill the lunchboxes in the morning.
Kids quickly get sick of something if they have it every day for a week, so make a batch of something like scrolls, freeze and pull them out when needed, so as to avoid lunchbox boredom.
Some freezer friendly ideas:
- bliss balls
- muesli bars
- mini pizzas
- zucchini slice
- mini frittatas
- mini quiches
- …and even cookies!
It’s simple to make lunches easier and rely less on packet food when you take the time to get prepped in advance.
Lunch boxes are not the place to experiment with a new food that hasn’t been tested at home!
Make a habit of trying new stuff out with the kids, rather than just putting it into the box and hoping for the best.
Some of the most popular things that my kids always want in their lunchbox:
Ham and Cheese Pizza Scrolls
Caramel and chocolate Bliss Balls
Amazing Whole Apple Food Processor Cake
At the end of the day, if the kids don’t eat everything, it’s annoying, but it could simply mean you have overpacked, or that there was something on at school that was more interesting than lunch! Ask them why it wasn’t all finished, and if at all possible, get them to finish it for afternoon tea!
For a never ending supply of lunch box ideas and kid friendly fare, head to Kylie’s Instagram: